We all do it.

We all do it at odd times of the day or night.

It’s definitely a curse and NOT helpful at all!

Overthinking is a topic that comes up regularly in client sessions. At times of stress and when we are feeling overwhelmed with life, our brain decides that we are going to think about EVERYTHING in minute detail ALL OF THE TIME.

“I’m going out with friends tomorrow night, what will everyone be wearing, what should I wear? What if I don’t wear the ‘right’ thing? What if I’m late? What if I’m early? What if I don’t really know everyone and feel out of place?”

And that my friends, is just a tame example!

What causes overthinking?

Overthinking is caused due to various reasons like fear, uncertainty, trauma, or perfectionism. Overthinking can also be a symptom of already existing mental health conditions such as a generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or depression.

Signs you’re an overthinker.

  • You have trouble sleeping because it feels like your brain won’t shut off.
  • You ask yourself a lot of ‘what if…’ questions.
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about the hidden meaning in things people say or events that happen.

Ways to curb your overthinking.

  1. Step back for a moment
    The way you respond to your thoughts can sometimes keep you in a cycle of   repetitive thinking. The next time you find yourself continuously running things over in your mind, take note of how it affects your mood. Having self-awareness is key to changing your mindset & can disrupt the thoughts.
  2. Find a distraction
    Shut down overthinking by involving yourself in an activity you enjoy. This looks different for everyone, but by distracting ourselves we change the dynamic even if it’s just for a short while.
  3. Take a deep breath
    You’ve heard it a million times but that’s because it works. Take time to learn how to breathe deeply. Yoga is great for this.
  4. Meditation

Another tool in the toolkit and a proven method of quietening the mind but not for everyone.

  • Look at the bigger picture
    Ask yourself “How will all the issues floating around in your mind affect you 5 or 10 years from now?” Don’t let minor issues turn into significant hurdles.
  • Acknowledge your successes
    However big or small, focus on what you HAVE achieved rather than what you feel you ‘should’ have.
  • Take action
    Sometimes we overthink out of frustration because we haven’t got around to doing something that could help us. Don’t procrastinate, get on and do.
  • Practice some self-compassion
    None of us are perfect, you can only do what you can do. Let go of the negative thoughts, focus on the positive things in your life.

Finally, if you are really struggling with an overthinker’s brain, cognitive behavioural Therapy with a qualified therapist can provide all sorts of tools for you to use.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, sometimes we all need to learn some new techniques to manage what is going on in our lives.